Teacher Pages


Michael Braz Returns to Campus for a Visit

On October 1, we were honored to have former NYA chorus and Boy Singers of Maine director Michael Braz return to campus for the day. Braz met with girls’ and boys’ chorus in Higgins Hall where he enforced the message, “Confidence is everything. You need to start out by believing that you are capable, not that you are better than someone else but that you know, ‘I’ve got this.’”

The campus and program have changed quite a bit since he last taught here in 1987 when he gathered chairs around a piano in Weld House living room. Twenty-eight years later, his most important lesson has not changed, “In an atmosphere where someone doesn’t have to win and someone doesn’t have to lose, they can aspire to a very high set of standards, the same type of musical standards that are asked of anyone doing music anyplace. Musical standards are not just something that are reserved for older people or experienced musicians.”

Braz is now Professor Emeritus of Music at Georgia Southern University.

NYA Art Teacher’s Works Included in “Inside/Outside.”

Pierced-pcmNorth Yarmouth Academy (NYA) is proud to announce that Upper School art teacher, Colby Myer will be exhibiting some of his personal work at Maine College of Art (MECA.) Myer’s works are part of the 2015 MAEA Art Educators Exhibition, “Inside/Outside.” All works featured in this collection are creations by Maine art educators.

Gallery doors open at 5:00 p.m. on Friday, October 2 during Portland’s First Friday Art Walk. You can find Myer’s works in the Zand Head & Hall Galleries at MECA, 522 Congress Street, Portland. The exhibit runs through October 17.

Myer would love to have the support of the NYA community and share his work with all of you. As for his thoughts on his art Colby says, “I like to let my work speak for itself.”

Congratulations, Mr. Ramsey!

Ian Ramsey, NYA's Visual & Performing Arts Department ChairCongratulations to NYA’s Visual & Performing Arts Department Chair Ian Ramsey, who earned his Masters of Fine Arts this summer from the Rainier Writing Workshop at Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, Washington. He participated in a low-residency program for three years, including four summer residencies at Pacific Lutheran University. Through the program, he connected with writers, artists and educators from around America. He also worked from home each year, intensively, with a different mentor. He focused on poetry and nonfiction and was able to complete a book-length manuscript that he will continue to refine and hopes to have published as a book.

“The Rainier Writing Workshop put me in touch with a nation-wide community of writers and artists and gave me the structure and support to pursue my own creative endeavors. I also pursued a pedagogy focus in the program, which I’ve already put to direct use in my environmental writing class [this class went to Alaska this past June]. The program’s rigor and energy helped me to grow enormously as a person and as an artist, and I’m happy to model that kind of growth for my students,” said Ramsey. The NYA community is very proud of you for this great accomplishment!

McNally to Coach Girls Ice Hockey at NYA

North Yarmouth Academy (NYA) is excited to announce that Amy McNally will coach varsity girls ice hockey this winter. McNally was previously the head girls ice hockey coach at Cheverus in Portland, ME.

AmyMcNallyMcNally graduated in 2008 from the University of Southern Maine (USM), where she played varsity ice hockey and was co-captain of the lacrosse team. She received her JD from the University of Maine School of Law and currently practices law at the Holmes Legal Group, LLC, Wells, Maine. She also serves as the assistant girls lacrosse coach at USM. She coached the Casco Bay U19 girls travel ice hockey team from 2008 until 2012.

NYA Athletic Director Jack Hardy explained, “NYA Prep Hockey has some of the best skaters in the region participating in our program. We want to expand on this base, and Amy impressed the interview committee and me, with not only her resume and reputation, but her love and passion for the game. Kids love playing for her, and the NYA girls will be in very capable hands with Coach McNally leading us in competitions throughout New England. She wants to give back to the game, and we are fortunate that she is here doing it.”

North Yarmouth Academy is an independent, college preparatory, coeducational school serving toddlers through students in grade twelve. Since 1814, NYA has fostered integrity, character and intellect in its students. For more information, please contact NYA at 207-847-5423 or visit our website at nya.org.

Sterling Returns to Coach Field Hockey at NYA

North Yarmouth Academy (NYA) is excited to announce that Julia Sterling (Freeport) will coach varsity field hockey this fall. Sterling, who was inducted into NYA’s Edgar F. White ’38 Athletic Hall of Fame in 2012, has a long and successful history of coaching both field hockey and lacrosse at NYA and surrounding communities.

“I was the field hockey coach at NYA from 2003 to 2010 and won 2 state championship trophies during my tenure. The outgoing coach, Tracy Quimby, was my assistant at that time. She will be tough to replace, but I am very excited to be back on campus as the varsity coach once again,” said Sterling. Sterling also served as NYA varsity girls lacrosse coach from 1991 to 2004.

NYA Athletic Director Jack Hardy explained, “Over the years, I have been able to watch Julia from a distance as she worked her craft with the young ladies fortunate enough to have been coached by her. Her love for the game and her student athletes is always prevalent. It’s great to now be directly associated with this wonderful coach.”

North Yarmouth Academy is an independent, college preparatory, coeducational school serving toddlers to students in grade twelve. Since 1814, NYA has fostered integrity, character and intellect in its students. For more information, please contact NYA at 207-847-5423 or visit our website at nya.org.

2015 Summer Assignments …

The summer assignments are posted on the NYA website and available here. The NYA Virtual Bookstore is scheduled to open on Monday, July 20. Please make sure you have your schedule before you order texts. Also, if you order your textbooks between July 20 and July 26, shipping is free.

Have a wonderful summer vacation, everyone!

NYA Class Explores Glacier Bay Alaska

alaska-kayakwallNorth Yarmouth Academy (NYA) chair of visual and performing arts, Ian Ramsey, created an environmental writing class this spring based around his students’ interests and his own expertise. The class combines writing, environmentalism and adventure with a focus on writing technique, storytelling and environmental awareness. The course is designed for students who are both proficient and interested in the combination of environmentalism and writing. The culmination of the course is a trip to Alaska for a week from June 22 – July 1. Students will kayak through Alaska’s Glacier Bay and meet with environmental authors they have studied during the class including Kim Heacox and Hank Lentfer.

The class began with the exploration of writing styles and literary works of many environmental writers. Their focus was on Alaskan environmental writers. Students then wrote personal essays about their experience with the environment. Ramsey explained, “Each student worked on a five page personal essay about their personal and emotional relationship to a particular landscape.” In March, students read their first manuscripts to the professional writers at The Telling Room in Portland. The professional writers held individual conferences with the students and helped them workshop their writing. They had another writing workshop in April, and read their final pieces to a small crowd on campus at the end of the semester.

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NYA Student from India to Help Girls in Remote Villages

North Yarmouth Academy (NYA) rising senior Stanzin Angmo was new not only to NYA this year, but also to the United States.  Angmo came to NYA from Ladakh, India where she graduated from The Siddartha School Project as a sophomore last year. This summer, Angmo will spend a month volunteering at Valley Hospital in New Jersey, then travel to Smith College for their Summer Science and Engineering Program, and then in August, she has raised enough funds to travel back to India to volunteer at the Roy A. Kite Clinic in Ladakh.

angmoThe Siddhartha School Project is a private K-10 school in Ladakh, India.  Founded by Khen Rinpoche, a Tibetan Monk and educator, the school “gives the children of Ladakh access to the highest-quality, thoroughly modern education in the region, while also honoring their life-ways and traditions in the curriculum and school activities.” Rinpoche has visited NYA on two occasions in the last year to both check in on Angmo and speak with NYA students.

Angmo and her friend, Tsewang Chuskit decided to forgo the Indian educational tradition of attending college or intermediate college after tenth grade. Both graduated at the top of their class, and after taking their final exam and receiving top marks, they came to the United States to continue their high school education.  Chuskit lives with a host family in New York and will accompany Angmo on her travels this summer. Angmo lives with a host family in Yarmouth.

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Two NYA Seniors Receive Prestigious National Merit Scholarships

Two North Yarmouth Academy (NYA) seniors received National Merit $2,500 Scholarships.  Ellis Miskell and Charlotte Eisenberg (Peaks Island) were chosen from approximately 1.5 million student entries to win the prestigious national award. Miskell and Eisenberg will attend Yale University and Haverford College respectively this fall.

The National Merit Scholarship Program (NMSP) honors individual students who show exceptional academic ability and potential for success in rigorous college studies.  According to the NMSP, about 1.5 million students in more than 22,000 high schools enter the National Merit Scholarship Program by taking the 2013 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test. They are the top scoring entrants in each state or less than one percent of U.S. high school seniors.  Out of greater than 50,000 high scorers, there are around 16,000 National Merit Program Semifinalists. In order to advance in the competition these semifinalists had to complete several requirements including a detailed application and submit a record of high academic performance. There are just 8,000 National Merit  Scholarships awarded.

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NYA Students Spring to Action, Aid Nepal

Nibbles-for-NepalNorth Yarmouth Academy (NYA) students sprang to action following the devastating 7.8 magnitude earthquake and subsequent aftershocks in Nepal on April 25. Seventh graders sponsored a “dress-down day” (when students, faculty and staff dress casually in return for a $3 donation to a cause) to benefit Oxfam, an organization providing relief efforts in Nepal. Fifth graders are hosting a “Nibbles for Nepal” bake sale to benefit Save the Children.

Fifth grade teacher Shannon Gallagher explained, “We recently completed a study about plate tectonics and were amazed to learn of the earthquake as well as the volcanic eruption that happened in Chile over last weekend.” Since there were no dress-down days available, the class decided on a bake sale and came up with a catchy name – Nibbles for Nepal. “We watched some videos of earthquake footage, and they were excited to realize how much they really had learned throughout the course of our unit –  vocabulary, processes, and the kind of things that people would have needed to do to prepare for such a catastrophe,” said Gallagher.  After researching the top charities involved with earthquake relief, the class decided they would send their donation to Save the Children, an organization that will help get food and supplies to children and their families in Nepal. “I am very proud of the compassion they have shown, as well as their general excitement over spearheading such an effort.  It truly was their idea!”

Seventh graders also mobilized. Science teacher Danielle Barschdorf said, “This earthquake tragedy has hit a chord with me.” Her seventh graders have been studying plate tectonics and are starting to learn about earthquakes. They recently watched the documentary film “Everest” about the 1996 disaster, and they have closely studied the Eurasian and Indian plate boundaries that are converging together to continue to change the Himalayas. “I have always loved learning about the region, and it was devastating when I heard about the disaster. I just felt it was really important that we try to raise funds to help out.” They devoted an entire class period to discussing the events and the science behind the fault line and earthquake. They decided to sponsor a dress-down day to raise funds to help the people in Nepal. After a thorough discussion, the students decided that the funds raised will go to Oxfam, an organization increasing its aid in Nepal through providing water, toilets and other relief efforts. “Every little bit helps,” she said.

North Yarmouth Academy is an independent, college preparatory, coeducational school serving toddlers through twelfth grade students. Since 1814, NYA has fostered integrity, character and intellect in its students. For additional information, please contact NYA at 207-847-5423 or visit our website at www.NYA.org.

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